How To Enjoy Astoria, Oregon

Last weekend I bundled up for a day trip to the Oregon Coast with my boyfriend. We were in need of a quick reprise from the daily grind and had settled on the sleepy town of Astoria. I’ll be frank: Astoria has never been one of my favorite Oregon beaches. My family grew up with a beach house in Pacific City and I’ve been biased ever since. Still, I was desperate to getaway and Astoria seemed like a reasonable option being just a few hours away. Why not head somewhere less familiar?

We began the day with a short but worthwhile hike from Cathedral Tree to the Astoria Column. The trail was easy to navigate and the fresh air felt good. The real work began once we reached the column and began the steep trek to the top (164 steps total). We gripped the metal handrails, swiveling out of the way of tourists making their descent. Out of breathe and beaming with accomplishment, we arrived at the top to a spanning view of the city and sea. Even amid the dense blanket of fog that seems to habitually envelop Astoria, it was lovely.

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The hike from Cathedral Tree
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A view from the Astoria Column | Credit: Shanna Hatfield

Once we made our way back to the car at the bottom of the trail, we were hungry enough for lunch. Prior to our trip, I had scoured Yelp in hopes of finding a new spot to try. As someone obsessed with good food, eating well is always prioritized during my weekend. Upon my request, we went to Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe, which was conventionally located in the same building as Fort George Brewery (our inevitable next stop). We knew we’d made a sound decision when we pushed our way inside and saw the mouthwatering array of fresh baked goods that lined the counters. I ordered a baked tempeh sandwich with organic greens and homemade mayo-aioli sauce. It was crazy delicious, all the way down to the two little pickles that accompanied it. Yelp had paid off big time.

Next up was Fort George Brewery, admittedly our main incentive for visiting Astoria in the first place. We headed to the second floor so we could enjoy the beautiful view and sat down at the bar. After spending more time than necessary considering my many options, I settled on the “White Witch,” a hefty blonde stout. After just finishing up a big lunch, it may not have been the best choice, but it tasted great. We also checked out the tasting room adjacent to the Fort George Brewery, which had an even more extensive list of beers. For those serious beer-drinkers, this cozy fire-lit space would be the spot for you.

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The “White Witch” at Fort George Brewery
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The Fort George Building

Afterwards we explored town a bit, popping into more than a few shops that made me feel like I was back in Portland. Along the main blocks of the city were quaint and charming record shops, curated vintage stores, and trendy cafes. Not too bad, Astoria. Later we walked along the pier, suddenly startled by the howls of the sea lions below. We gave it our best effort, but weren’t able to spot them. So we opted instead to bend over laughing while we recorded it and played it back to our friends later. Soon after, we found our car and began the retreat home. Astoria may not be my favorite Oregon beach, but it certainly deserves a visit.

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